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Upcoming Events and Women's News

40 years celebration Women's Commission

Thoughts from Bella Owens, President

The world and the community we live in are facing significant challenges, the only way to overcome it is by embracing boldness.

The leadership of Baltimore County has been proactive in protecting the rights of women (and family), but there are more challenges beyond that. There are significant legislations pertaining women that did not pass this year—be bold in contacting your legislators to act on it next year. Same tough issues for women persist such as pay equity, violence against women, sexual assault, rights to women’s health and under-representation in politics—be bold in being part of the solution.

The Commission is celebrating its 40th year anniversary! For 40 years:

  • We have been advocating and identifying programs, legislation and services to meet the needs of all women.
  • We we are working on issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking awareness, better health for women, women's empowerment and equality, as well as common sense public policy agendas that benefit all women.

Bold for Change

The time for change is now and we are more than ready. Join us in being Bold For Change.

The Baltimore County Women's Commission sponsors events throughout the year. Plan to attend!

Diversity Dimension—an Interactive Discussion

three multicural women

Diversity Dimension was held to move beyond simple tolerance, to embrace rich dimensions of diversity and to learn how to demand equality of treatment that we all deserve.

Also discussed was feelling limited in your efforts to achieve as a result of differences relating to your culture, race or religion.


An Unique Forum

A Forum was held on September 14:

  • for an open dialogue
  • to share ideas
  • to explore our differences

Heard from a group of women:

  • who have experienced this challenging hurdle
  • who have been motivated to move beyond simple tolerance
  • who embrace the rich dimensions of diversity
  • who have demanded equality of treatment that we all deserve

Guest Panelists

Guests participated in an interactive panel discussion with:

  • Jennifer Aubert-Utz, Assistant Chief, Baltimore County Fire Department
  • Inez Stewart, Senior Vice President, Johns Hopkins Human Resources
  • Marisol Johnson, Owner, State Farm Insurance
  • Jo Toye, Founder and Owner, N Top Shape Entertainment

Co-Chairs: Kelly Carter and Ruth Howard

Visit the Baltimore County Commission for Women online.

2017 Neighborhood Heroes Nominations

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will honor seven Neighborhood Heroes, one from each county council district, who reside in Baltimore County and have made significant and unique contributions within the community, workplace, school or other setting.

The deadline to nominate individuals was September 15.

Insider News

Cheryl Brooks—Baltimore County Elementary Principal of the Year

Principal of the year, Cheryl BrooksCongratulations to our very own Education Ad-Hoc Commissioner Cheryl Brooks! Cheryl is the Principal of Berkshire Elementary and she was named the 2017 to 2018 Elementary Principal of the Year at the April 26, 2017 Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year Ceremony of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools .

In addition to Cheryl, five other Baltimore County principals were honored.

Bella Owens—Recipient of Asian American Excellence Award

Bella Owens, Award Recipient for Asian American ExcellenceShout-out to our Commission President Bella Owens! Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz recognized Bella Owens as one of the five recipients of the first Baltimore County Asian American Excellence Award during the recognition event held May 9, 2017 at the Owings Mills Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. This award was presented to individuals whose life work has successfully contributed to the vitality of the greater Baltimore County region, and whose efforts inspire others to strive for success and to celebrate diversity and achievement. This award honored Asian Americans in Baltimore County in celebration of May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Wilson—Longest Serving Executive Liaison

Executive Liaison Jackie WilsonJackie served as the Executive Liaison for the Baltimore County Commission for Women for over 20 years, she passed away on May 26, 2017. She actively stood for human rights and in particular, women's rights. Jackie was very active with the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW), she helped organize the Washington, D.C. NACW national conference. She was also very helpful when NACW had to close its office and transition to their new office.

Jackie will be remembered as a dignified, accomplished and caring woman—we will miss you Jackie!

Maryland Legislative Agenda

Women's 2017 Final Legislative Agenda Report

  • HB 1-SB 230: Labor and Employment—Maryland Healthy Working Families Act: The legislation, which was introduced for the first time in 2013, requires Maryland employers to allow workers to earn a certain number of annual paid sick and safe days. The "safe time" component of the legislation requires employers to allow employees who have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault to use their accrued paid sick leave to care for their health after these incidents or to seek legal protections or new housing. Outcome: Passed
  • HB 429-SB 217: Criminal Law—Sexual Offenses–Physical Resistance: This bill clarifies and modernizes Maryland's sex crimes statutes by making it clear that rape victims are not required to physically resist sexual assault. Outcome: Passed
  • HB 428-SB 574: Family Law—Child Conceived Without Consent–Termination of Parental Rights (Rape Survivor Family Protection Act): The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act would create a legal process for rape victims to terminate the parental rights of rapists when a child is conceived as result of rape. Victims would be required to meet a clear and convincing standard of evidence. This is the same standard used for other termination of parental rights cases. Outcome: Passed House and Senate in different forms; failed in conference committee.
  • HB 919-SB 971: Procurement—Nondiscrimination Clauses and State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination: This bill prevented corporations seeking to contract with the state from discriminating against women when appointing members to their Board of Directors. Leading authorities on pay equity believe that placing more women on corporate boards will influence better compensation policies and practices and offer a diversity of perspectives and experience. Outcome: Passed Senate but failed in House.
  • HB 398-SB 404: Labor and Employment—Equal Pay–Job Announcement and Salary History Information Disclosures: This bill prohibited discriminatory practices and increased transparency from employers when hiring women. Employers could not ask past salary history and employers over a certain size would have to disclose a salary range for the position when requested by the applicant. This bill would address the perpetuation of gender pay disparities by not relying on a job candidate's prior salary in hiring or setting pay. Outcome: Unfavorable report in Senate Finance Committee.
  • HB 1614-SB 1116: Maryland Fair Scheduling, Wages and Benefits Act and HB1615-SB1145 Maryland Fair Scheduling Act: This bill would provide baseline protections, like advance notice of work schedules, predictability pay for last minute schedule changes and compensation for on-call shifts, to incentivize employers to create stable, predictable schedules and to ensure that employees are compensated for their time and flexibility. Outcome: No vote in committees.
  • HB 214: Discrimination in Employment–Conditions Related to Pregnancy or Childbirth: This bill made clarifications to Maryland's existing law to ensure that pregnant workers with a medical need for workplace accommodations due to normal pregnancy are in fact provided reasonable accommodations. It would also strengthen the law by clarifying that reasonable accommodations must also be provided for lactation-related needs. It would also strengthen the law to prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers out on leave when they could be reasonably accommodated since many women cannot afford or do not want to take leave and could continue working if they were provided another reasonable accommodation. Outcome: No vote in committee.


For more information, email or call 410-887-3448.

Revised September 18, 2017         


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